With a decade of Venture Atlanta behind us, we can reflect on another amazing event that took place last week. The annual conference creates opportunities for top tier investors to connect with and fund the region’s most promising technology companies, and gives all of us an insider’s peek into the innovation emerging in the Southeast. Venture Atlanta has witnessed so much in the last 10 years including helping secure over $2 billion in funding awarded to date and it’s been thrilling to watch Venture Atlanta grow, tech companies thrive and the Southeast rise in national startup status. Venture Atlanta 2017 saw a record number of out-of-town investors, record number of applications and record number of attendees. We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it.
We wanted to summarize some key highlights and observations from the two-day event:
West Coast Influx
We are attracting more and more national and West Coast-based VCs to Atlanta for this anticipated annual event. As our client BIP Capital observed, “Nothing is better proof of the growth and strength of our technology ecosystem in the Southeast.”
Healthcare is Hot
Life Sciences companies were highly visible at this year’s conference. There’s much going on in that sector and we look forward to watching those companies succeed. Enterprise SaaS solutions and predictive AI companies were a close second-place in buzz-creation.
Machine learning will change everything we do and likely have a bigger impact on our lives than did the Internet. AI will affect every industry, creating new ideas and new opportunities.
Shark Tank star Mark Cuban keynoted this year’s event. We liked what he had to say about being nice: “Nice is way undervalued in business — just be nice, it makes life so much better and the more productive and better people will be around you.”
But Be Disruptive
Ernie Garcia, CEO of Carvana, stood out in his fireside chat. He challenged all of us to think about how we each can create value. “Don’t be afraid to be disruptive and do something interesting. Not taking a risk is a risk in itself.”
Lastly, we were very pleased and encouraged to notice what seemed to be a greater amount of diversity in the crowd and companies who participated in Venture Atlanta 2017. While the event has always attracted a good mix of people of different experience levels and backgrounds, we noted this year was more diverse than compared to previous years, including showcasing several female executives. The more we surround ourselves with different genders, races, backgrounds, etc. the smarter and more successful we’ll all be.
In conclusion, as industry veteran Bob Cramer commented: “Atlanta is cooking up all the needed ingredients to continue its ascent as a top-tier tech city and we have come a long way.” Next year is going to be a winning year for Atlanta and we can’t wait to see what bubbles to the top of Venture Atlanta 2018.